‘I Wasn’t Quite Finished With the Cigarette When My Car Pulled Up’

Alphabet City

Dear Diary:

I stood at the intersection of Avenue C and Eighth Street on a heat night time in 2018, pushing tears away from my eyes so I might see effectively sufficient to order a Lyft.

Waiting for the automobile to reach, I seen a small group of individuals close by. They have been smoking cigarettes and chatting. I walked over and requested for one. They stopped speaking and checked out me. A younger girl held a cigarette out to me.

I walked again to the nook, the cigarette lit and my nerves starting to calm at the same time as the tears continued to circulation. The similar younger girl approached me.

“You OK, girl?” she mentioned. “I saw you in here earlier with a guy.”

I used to be shocked.

“Yeah, thanks,” I mentioned. “I’m OK. I just thought he was my friend. It turns out he isn’t.”

She nodded and stayed subsequent to me, largely quiet but additionally providing just a few encouraging phrases. She mentioned she had seen my gown earlier. It was cinched with a belt that I’d taken from my mom’s assortment.

I wasn’t fairly completed with the cigarette when my automobile pulled up. The younger girl went over to the driver.

“She needs a minute,” she mentioned.

The driver checked out me, after which he nodded solemnly.

“You tell her to take her time,” he mentioned.

— Hannah Kinisky

Out and In

Dear Diary:

My husband determined that we might now not park our automobile in the storage and pay the month-to-month payment however would as an alternative park it on the road. By we, in fact, he meant me.

At the time, I used to be a stay-at-home mother with one younger youngster and one other on the manner. Roughly each day, I might get up, take our youngster and transfer the automobile. Most days, I might spend over an hour simply ready for the road sweeper to return by.

As time handed, I made just a few parking buddies on the block. It was a tightknit group, and we’d defend each other’s spots if strangers got here alongside and tried to seize them and ensure vehicles that parked left sufficient area for others to squeeze in.

My husband determined to hitch me on my alternate-side-of-the road escapade one morning. As we sat in the automobile and I waved at the acquainted faces, he was launched to a brand new a part of my life.

When the road sweeper appeared, he informed me to drive round the block.

“Are you crazy?” I snapped at him. “I’ll never get a spot again.”

At that time, he turned and noticed the line of vehicles behind me, like a rolling ocean wave or a baseball falling completely right into a well-oiled mitt, pulling out into the road to make manner out for the road sweeper after which backing into their empty spots.

“You do this every day?” my husband requested.

“No,” I mentioned. “Not Wednesdays, snow days or legal holidays.”

— Leora Lambert

Sunny Riverdale Afternoon

Dear Diary:

On a sunny Riverdale afternoon, I took my new bicycle for a fast trip. Later, as I used to be driving up Broadway on my manner dwelling, an older girl with an umbrella flagged me down.

I used to be operating late for a name, however she seemed misplaced or perhaps confused. She may want instructions, I believed.

As I got here to a halt, she started to smile. And then she held out a tough toffee sweet.

“Thank you,” I mentioned.

“You’re welcome,” she mentioned, in a language I didn’t know.

— Malcolm-Wiley Floyd

Bethesda Terrace

Dear Diary:

I watched a yellow boa constrictor trip a hoverboard by way of Bethesda Terrace. It was draped throughout the tattooed shoulders of its proprietor, who was gliding alongside in sluggish determine eights.

To the proper of the fountain, a toddler in a stroller crossed paths with a tiny canine strapped right into a stroller of its personal. Salsa dancers spun throughout the tiled plaza as an viewers basked on sun-soaked benches.

Not one, however two pairs of newlyweds, arms cradled, posed for wedding ceremony images. A bike owner whizzed by on a bedazzled bicycle. The blue gems matched his spandex. He braked beside me, pausing to soak up the laughter and the daylight.

— Annette Zenker

‘How’s Your Mom?’

Dear Diary:

I used to be an everyday at a diner in Brooklyn. I all the time sat at the counter and ordered a Greek salad and an unsweetened iced tea.

One time after I was there, the waitress paused after taking my order.

“How’s your mom?” she requested.

“She passed away,” I replied, “but thanks for asking.”

The subsequent time I used to be there, the similar waitress was too.

“Greek salad and unsweetened iced tea?” she requested.

“Yes,” I mentioned. “Good memory.”

“How’s your mom?” she mentioned.

“Still dead.”

“Yeah,” the waitress mentioned, “I should have remembered that too.”

— Cindy Zaglin

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Illustrations by Agnes Lee